As we recover from the excesses of the holiday season, or return to our desks refreshed and invigorated, the New Year period is the perfect time to make career plans and to think about changing our work life for the better. However, it is important to make careful and considered decisions. These questions will help you to work out what changes you need to make in 2013.
* Are you happy and fulfilled at work?
Realistically, no one will be ecstatically happy at work all the time. However minor annoyances and day-to-day stresses can be overcome, whereas serious problems with your colleagues or a fundamental dislike of the work you do can impact on other aspects of your life including mental and physical health. So, it is important to act and change your work situation before you become really disheartened.
* Do you need training or up-skilling?
You might be generally happy in your job but feel that you need a new challenge and would like to expand your horizons. If this is the case, your manager or mentor may agree to you receiving training to develop your skills in a new area. You must put the business case to him or her as to why this training would benefit the organisation as a whole. Now is a good time to research training opportunities and costs, and to consider how you can ‘sell’ the idea to your mentor.
* Do you need a new job?
In some cases you might feel that you’ve achieved as great a success as you can in your current job and that you need an entirely new challenge. The decision to look for a job elsewhere should not be taken lightly. In the current economic climate it may be difficult to find something new quickly. However, this should not stop you from planning a move if that is going to be right for you. Now you must decide whether you want a similar job in a different organisation, or an entirely new career.
* Does you work-life balance need adjusting?
The holiday season often provides an extended period of time resting with family and friends and this can cause a readjustment in attitude towards work. If you find that your job is adversely affecting your health, your family life or your chance to pursue hobbies then this year you should think about making some changes. Explore with your employer the possibilities of working from home, undertaking a job share, reducing your hours to part time or transferring to a different office, closer to home.
* What’s your five year plan?
If you feel happy with your current job and decide that you don’t want to make any changes at this stage, that doesn’t mean that you should ignore the future. New Year is an excellent time to make long term career goals. Ask yourself the following questions: where do I see myself in five years time? Are you ambitious and want to move into a more senior or managerial role? Or do you hope to have scaled back your working hours in order to spend more time with family? What sort of changes need to take place to achieve that? Which of your colleagues or managers can help you get there?